by Anne | 10:02 am
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Hello guys, gals, and ghosts of all types. I’m here to talk to you about another job I worked. This one was in a factory in Omaha, Nebraska called Marianna Beauty, and as the name implies, it sells beauty products. They had everything from wigs to dyes to manicure hands, but only the left ones, there were never any right manicure hands the poor things.

Marianna Beauty

Starting Out

I started this job as a temp. I was contracted out to them through a temp agency called Remedy, and it wasn’t the most glamorous or highest paying job, but it was something. I was 19, at the time, and ready to make it on my own, or so I thought. That’s another story all together, especially since I was a very stupid young adult.

Factory work is not pleasant in a way. It is definitely not clean. There was dirt and dust and grime. I would wash my hands not even 3 hours into my shift and they would soap up gray. It was disgusting in that way, but you know what way it was an amazing thing?

Factories, as a general rule, aren’t all that ventilated either. This means that I was hot in the summer to the point of having heat stroke, and freezing in the winter. It was so much fun! There was however one thing that I loved about my job when I started out.beauty supply warehouse

I worked by myself. I could do whatever I wanted as long as I got my job done.

My Job

As for my job I was an order picker for most of my time there. I would get a set of orders for the day and then I’d have to go and collect all the items for it so it could be packed into the appropriate boxes and shipped out to the client.

Where I worked you could call it the “dry goods” side. There was another part of the plant that dealt with making soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, etc. Most of my time was counting combs and collecting scissors, going through different sized perm and hair rollers and the like. I admit that I did have to go get certain “wet goods”, but by then they were all packaged up and ready to go.

I loved getting the orders to go in the way back where all the hair dye was. It was so quiet back there, and no one was around. I could spend hours back there just picking since it was away from the bustle of the packing center where most everything was centered around.

The Automated System

However times do change and things started to shift to a more automated system. Now, instead of having an individual go and pick items they would just be packed as it rolled down the conveyor belt. This presented its own set of problems as it increased efficiency. Keeping the racks that held the goods stocked. We did still have to pick the items to go on the racks, but it was a much larger quantity and it took fewer people to do it.

This meant that there was still human error in picking the wrong product. We did have a few people that still picked orders, but it wasn’t nearly as many as we had before. Then there was the packing. Each client had their own was that they wanted things to be packed. This sometimes led to logistic errors, such as too small of a box to put the product in.

automated systemFor the first little while of this new system I was behind the racks making sure they were stocked and checking products into the correct slot so the computer would show exactly how many were there. I was eventually moved to the very front of the line.

It became my job to set up boxes and put in manikin heads with hair, luggage, and books into the box. I was also in charge of the timing of said boxes. The belt moved at set intervals. In order to alleviate large orders with many items I would have to change the time. For our most popular order I would have to send it every 1 and a half times the belt moved.

This meant that I was no longer by myself and that people could see me. I was still in my own little bubble for the most part, which I thought was an amazing thing.

A Choice to Make

Part way through my working there the management pulled me aside and told me that they were dropping Remedy and that I would either be relocated or hired on full time. They wanted me there, so I signed on as a full time employee.

The Ending

So, why do I not work there anymore? The hours. I can burn out very quickly and this was no exception. I was working 12 hour days 5 days a week, and would be expected to come in from 6-12 hours on Saturday. It got to me, I started skipping, since I was not the brightest back then, and eventually got fired for it.

Looking back now I probably wouldn’t have stayed there with them. I was a hard worker, but the work they had me doing was not the greatest. The long hours just about killed me and it just wasn’t a forever job. None of my jobs have been.

I admit that working by myself was glorious with only the occasional hello as I passed by other people in the early days as my only interaction. This was the place where it was truly cemented in my brain how to count in 12’s. I had never needed it before, but most of the things in that warehouse were packaged in 12’s so I definitely learned.

Did you find this post helpful? Can you relate? If you can, then please post a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks,

Anne

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Comments

Kristen

Wow, what great insight into the working life of an introvert. It has never crossed my mind to think of a situation like that for someone who may be introverted and a bit shy in the workplace. Especially in a factory setting where there can be a huge turnaround of employees where you could be seeing new faces all the time.
Like you, I have worked in factories and warehouses alike so I’m very familiar with the setting. So being a picker/packer must have been a great job for you until the automated system came into place. How unfortunate right?
But along with you, those long hours can be grueling in the hot summer, been there done that!
I really enjoyed reading your article and I clicked on your highlighted links as well which sent me to a couple of your other articles, Quite enjoyable and a learning experience all in one. Thank you for developing this and I look forward to reading more.

Apr 13.2018 | 02:59 pm

    Anne

    Hello, Kristen, and thank you for taking the time to read my articles. Thankfully at my factory there wasn’t much of a turnover, but I did have to train one of the other pickers/packers while I was there and that was a bit of a nightmare. The only thing that made it bearable was the fact that she was my friend from high school.

    It was very unfortunate that the automated system came into play, but I do understand that from a business perspective it was a sound decision. 

    I’m glad you found my article informative and helpful. I hope you come back and read more soon.

    Take care,

    Anne

    Apr 13.2018 | 04:15 pm

Jamila Jones

I have never worked in a factory but I know it can be hard work. My son used to work in a crisp factory and he said he use to sing, tell jokes, all the time as the work was so monotonous. He told me the heat was unbearable. My nephew has had a few factory jobs and for some reason, they keep letting him go. He says you have to keep up and meet a certain quota and if you don’t then they let you go. I think he needs to try something else he is obviously too slow for factory work.

Apr 17.2018 | 02:52 pm

    Anne

    Hello, Jamila, and thank you for your story. Yes, there is a quota demand for factory work, but there might also be a demand for accuracy too. Marianna was hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It is hard work. If you’re son is happy with what he does then I would be supportive, but if he isn’t then it is time to expand the horizons and find something better.

    Take care,

    Anne

    Apr 17.2018 | 03:04 pm

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